GCO celebrates Beethoven with annual concert


Published: Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 1:03 a.m.
Rulers and radicals will take Gainesville on a musical adventure during the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra's fourth annual "Got Beethoven" concert Sunday.
The Gainesville/ Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board honored the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra with its 2006 annual award for its contribution to the arts through programs such as "Got Beethoven." Tuesday was proclaimed Gainesville Chamber Orchestra Day in Alachua County and the city of Gainesville.
"Got Beethoven" began after a Beethoven concert several years ago proved so popular, it became an annual event, said Evans Haile, music director and conductor of the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra.
"It's kind of like a Gainesville tradition now," he said.
The tradition will continue at 4 p.m. in the University of Florida University Auditorium with the theme revolutionary music.
Beethoven was as much a political activist as a composer, Haile said. He was a man with a revolutionary way of thinking.
"Here's a man who fought against the tide, who broke the rules," Haile said. "He was a revolutionary in the world of arts and music."
Audience members will hear the orchestra perform Beethoven's "Symphony #3 Eroica" and the "Egmont Overture" to emphasize the theme.
Eroica is Italian for hero and is one of Beethoven's most famous works.
"It was originally dedicated to Napoleon (Bonaparte)," Haile said. "But when Beethoven found out Napoleon was a tyrant, he tore it up and said it was to the memory of a great man."
Haile said there had never been anything written like Eroica before Beethoven created it.
Eroica is credited as the beginning of musical romanticism, the period in European classical music from the early 1800s to the first decade of the 20th century.
Beethoven's "Egmont Overture" shares a name with the play "Egmont," both of whichfocus on the fight for freedom.
"The music has a lot to do with the times we live in now because of the political unrest of who's a tyrant or who is not," Haile said.
The concert will also feature Zoltán Kodály's "Hungarian Rondo" and Johann Strauss's "Blue Danube Waltz."
Beethoven was inspired by folk music, and the "Hungarian Rondo" was selected to show an example of that influence.
Haile said the "Blue Danube Waltz" is an interesting adjunct to the program because Strauss was a revolutionary in his own way.
"(Strauss) was considered dangerous by his government because he wrote popular waltzes that got people out dancing, inspired sex and close intimacy in dancing," Haile said. "This was a century and half before hip-hop came along."
Haile said the past Beethoven concerts have been very powerful shows, and their popularity demonstrates how Beethoven has jumped through the centuries.
"He's still as much a modern rock figure today as in his own time," Haile said.
"Got Beethoven," which should appeal to the whole family, is an opportunity for people to come and support Gainesville's professional orchestra, Haile said.
"It is powerful music that pulls you along. (It's) like you're swimming in a river being pulled with the current," he said.

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